I LOVE avocados! Well…I love Hass avocados. I was surprised to learn that there are many different types of avocados, and I’ve only tried two: Hass and the Florida avocado.
To my further surprise, the Hass (rhymes with class) avocado is also known as Haas (rhymes with Hoss), which is what I have always called it. It was Mr. Rudolph Hass, a California postman that planted the first seed of its kind in the late 1920s. His attempts to graft it with another variety did not work out, and he was going to chop the tree down. With pleas from his family, consumers, and grocers, Mr. Hass changed his mind. In 1935 after great success with growing and sales, he obtained a patent on the Hass avocado. You can read more about it here.
The Florida avocado is easily the larger of the two and doesn’t impress me much. The texture tends to be mushy and watery, and I find them to be less flavorful. My parents loved them, and they would remove the pit and fill the hole in the center with a big ole’ scoop of mayonnaise! Ugh. It gagged me then; it gags me now.
Back to Hass. Did you know that people who eat avocados tend to be healthier? Avocados have many healthy properties and are quite the popular source of good fats, too. According to an article by Kris Gunnars, BSc, Haas seems to be the more popular variety. And they have a pretty cool nickname: alligator pear. They definitely have the shape of a pear and bumpy, rough skin just like a gator.
Did you know that avocados are fruits? They have a seed or pit, which therefore makes them a fruit and not a vegetable. This little fruit is just full of goodness! Avocados are known as superfoods because of all the nutrients they provide. Let’s take a closer look.
All varieties of avocados are nutritious and contain much the same nutrients. In addition to being a good source of healthy fat, avocados provide vitamins C, E, and B, folic acid, and have more potassium than bananas. These creamy little guys also have 7g of fiber. Awesome! Even though fiber itself is indigestible, it plays an important role in the process of digestion where it loads up the bad stuff and takes it out of the body.
By the way, here are a few little known facts about avocados: 1) as I mentioned, they are actually a fruit; 2) they may be eaten with any vegetables or fruits; and 3) they will digest at the same rate as whatever fruits and veggies they are consumed with. So if you eat an avocado with a salad that digests in about two and a half hours, the avocado will digest in that amount of time, too. When pairing an apple that digests within about an hour with an avocado, the avocado is going to digest right along with the apple. Cool, huh?
Kris goes on to point out many additional and surprising benefits of eating avocados, including lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, arthritis relief, better nutrient absorption from plant foods, weight loss, and even antioxidants that provide protection for the eyes. You can read the whole article here.
One of the most popular ways to consume avocados is, of course, guacamole. I LOVE guacamole! Let me share with you one of my preferred guac recipes! It’s great to serve with chips or crackers, but you can also smear some on your favorite veggie wrap, plop a spoonful on top of your favorite vegan chili or soup, and try it instead of sour cream on your next baked potato.
I have read that you can eat the seed of the avocado, although I have neither tried it nor do I really want to. It’s only a little less enticing to me than the thought of eating kiwi skin, but some people do that. Most of the studies have been done with rats and mice rather than humans, and while some benefits have been uncovered, the safety factor and possible health benefits remain unknown. For now, the general recommendation is to not eat the avocado pit.
You can plant it, though! It is really simple, and we did it all the time when I was growing up. We never actually planted the seeds after they sprouted and grew for a while, but they were always fun to watch, and they make a pretty little plant. HGTV gives detailed instructions with pictures here, complete with what to expect.
The skinny on avocados is pretty simple: eat them; they’re healthy! Plain, in a salad, blended into a smoothie; on top of a cake, and you can even make chocolate pudding with these little gators, and no one will be the wiser. It’s a great way to sneak healthy foods into your family meals. So go ahead and enjoy your favorite variety of avocado today. Better yet, make something delicious and share the recipe with us!(or post it here, or however we set it up.) Enjoy!
*One important note: avocados are healthy, yes; high in fat? YES! So enjoy these guys in moderation. I try to eat half of one most every day. I’ve also got a recipe that’s real simple and doesn’t require a lot of prep time. You can check that out here.